The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Board of Directors today recommended its proposed 2014 Fiscal Year budget to the City Commission. The $8.1 million budget is based on extensive community input and includes several new initiatives to help strengthen and accelerate Grand Rapids' city building movement.

"This budget is balanced and fully aligned with our community's vision and priorities for the Downtown," DDA Executive Director Kristopher Larson said. "We will make critical investments in projects and programs that rebuild and maintain important infrastructure, promote business development in the urban core and enhance the overall experience for people living, working and visiting in our Downtown."

The proposed budget was developed over a 4-month public input process that engaged the DDA's citizen-led Action Groups, partner organizations, City staff and other stakeholders. Primary revenue sources include:

  • Approximately $3.3 million fund balance carried over from 2013.
  • Approximately $4.1 million in anticipated property tax capture.
  • Approximately $416,000 in estimated proceeds from property rental and DDA-owned parking lots.

These funds and the DDA's proposed budget will continue to strengthen Downtown's foundation for growth and competitiveness by investing in several key result areas:

  • Approximately $2.1 million dedicated to streetscape improvements, riverwalk repairs and other public infrastructure.
  • Approximately $1.4 million dedicated to support and incentives for new development.
  • Approximately $1.2 million dedicated to mobility and public transit improvements.
  • Approximately $585,000 dedicated to planning for future urban development and growth.

More specifically, the budget also prioritizes 14 new programs and initiatives to ensure Grand Rapids continues to grow and emerge as a strong and competitive mid-sized America city. Highlights include but are not limited to the following:

  • Funding for an outdoor movie series, student welcome activities and other social events.
  • Launching a program to advance new mobility solutions and manage growing transportation demand.
  • Developing a new Downtown master plan, the city's first in 22 years.
  • Installing signage to improve wayfinding Downtown.
  • Expanding the City Builders speaker series to continue raising awareness of and understanding of critical urban redevelopment issues.
  • Launching a Downtown Ambassador program to enhance public safety, information and comfort.
  • Improving walkability and the pedestrian experience along Bridge Street.
  • Establishing new programs and activities to promote greater diversity and inclusion throughout Downtown.

"The budget focuses investment in what our future requires," Larson said, " a people-centered Downtown that is distinct, attractive, walkable, prosperous and welcoming to all. DDA funds will attract additional public and private investment to Downtown, improve our economic strength and ensure Grand Rapids' urban core continues to grow while offering a progressively higher quality of life."

The DDA will present its proposed FY 2014 budget to the City Commission on June 18, 2013. If approved at that time, the DDA Board will consider formal adoption of the budget at its July meeting.